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Van Halen Reunion Leads To Run On Assless Chaps
LOS ANGELES (CAP) - The reunion of iconic '70s and '80s rock band Van Halen - who will release a new album and launch a massive U.S. tour this year - has led to a tremendous spike in assless chaps sales, according to representatives in the assless chaps industry.
"Sales of assless chaps are already up more than 300 percent in the first quarter [of 2012]," confirmed Sal Bloomingfield of the United States Assless Chaps Association (USACA). "Frankly it's been more of a specialty item the last few decades, so we couldn't be happier."
Assless chaps experienced a renaissance of sorts in the early 1980s when they became popularized by Van Halen lead singer David Lee Roth, who wore them during concerts, in music videos, on interviews and, by many accounts, while relaxing around the house.
"Let's face it – they're just comfortable," said Bloomingfield. "They breathe."
The chaps became a hot item, surpassing Lego Technic and the Care Bears to become the top-selling Christmas gift of 1984. But soon after Roth left the band their popularity plummeted, and many of the assless chaps sold during that period wound up tucked away in people's closets, unworn.
"I remember going to a church mixer in the spring of '85 and looking up to realize I was the only guy wearing assless chaps," recalled Bob Fernstrom, 45, of Great Neck, N.Y. "That was an eye opener," added Fernstrom, who noted he was threatened with arrest on indecent exposure charges unless he went home and changed into parachute pants.
The Van Halen reunion seems to have rekindled interest, however. Jon Zincway, a writer for the Live Daily music website, said he pulled his old assless chaps out of his bottom drawer as soon as it was announced that Roth would return to the band.
"Now this is what Van Halen is all about," said Zincway, who noted that after replacing Roth as lead singer, neither Sammy Hagar nor Gary Cherone ever exposed their butt cheeks on stage.
Zincway said he plans to wear his chaps to work every day throughout the tour, but added, "I just wish they had a pocket" since he needs somewhere to hold his iPhone so he can Tweet the setlist of every concert.
New Jersey mother of three Barbara Linebach, 42, could barely contain her excitement about the pending tour. "I've been waiting for this since 1984 - the year and the album!" she said, wearing her newly purchased assless chaps as she pushed her daughter, Madison, 4, down the produce aisle of the Barnegat, N.J. Safeway as frightened stock clerks attempted to avert their eyes.
According to Bloomingfield, USACA will do its best to take advantage of the chaps resurgence by publicizing information that will better familiarize the public with the ins and outs of assless chaps.
"For instance, technically all chaps are assless chaps because chaps, by their very nature, have no ass to them," noted Bloomingfield. "Things like that."
He said the group tried to secure the URL ass-chaps.com to further their promotional efforts, but "it turns out that's an entirely different type of website," he said.
Meanwhile, Van Halen - which has spent the last several years airbrushing former bassist Michael Anthony out of their old concert T-shirts - is planning its wardrobe for the upcoming tour, and ironically, assless chaps apparently did not make the cut.
"For me it's all about overalls now," said David Lee Roth, who noted however that he does occasionally wear red spandex when doing his Silver Sneakers cardio class at the Sherman Oaks Senior Center.
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